Blue and White splash down
Coach Ron Farina called Saturday’s Blue and White Alumni Meet for the 2013-14 swimming and diving team a “great measuring stick.”
The Pirates gave fans and alumni visiting for Seton Hall Weekend something to see at the Arthur E. Imperatore Natatorium.
While the veterans were familiar faces for the Pirate faithful, the class of 2017 was well-represent- ed. Farina said he was very impressed with what they did.
The women’s swimming and diving team is coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history. The Pirates set 10 school records last year while posting their best finish in the Big East Championships in almost 20 years.
Senior captain Kerrie Kolackovsky contributed to five of the eight record times for the Hall last season and is back and looking to do even more. Along with co-captain Kelly Markwell, coach Ron Farina said that his expectations have no limit for the women’s side.
For the men, senior tri-captains Matt Benson, Joey Lacus, and Jon Ropson lead a well-seasoned men’s team that has seven seniors and a large incoming class. Ropson comes off a year in which he racked up two personal records and looks to lead the Hall in butterfly and freestyle.
The first diver in school history to reach an “A” Final in the Big East Championships is back. Junior Ben Mitchell placed seventh from the three-meter board and went on to be one of five qualifiers from the Big East to participate in the NCAA Zone A Championships.
“We have no lack of desire to perform,” Farina said.
Newcomers Ian Campbell, Keith Carlino, Xavier Jimenez, Matt Labombard, Cooper Lindsley, Colin Machat, T.J. Merighi, Alex Pfisterer, Jack Poupore, Zach Suter and Seth Underwood are the freshmen on the men’s squad. Freshmen on the women’s team include Annie Bucca, Kelsey Buonaiuto, Melody Bush, Maddie Harris, Cece Henry, Tessa Lindner and Erica Naumann. They fill out what Farina calls “potentially the most talented class ever.”
“For their first college meet, the freshmen class was great,” Farina said. “This is the largest and deepest one that we’ve ever had.”
The schedule is challenging in the early going, Farina said, and it’s a “battle up to Thanksgiving” for the Hall. The coach said he believes that the toughest test for the Pirates comes Nov. 8-9 when the team travels to Rutgers for a quad meet with the Scarlet Knights, Villanova and Georgetown.
“Having a nice mix of seniors and plenty of newcomers to our squad is really going to help us throughout the year,” Farina said.
Seton Hall opened the season against Montclair State where the men posted a 153-116 victory and the women won 160-116. The swimming events took place at Montclair State while the Pirates hosted the diving portion of the meet.
The Pirates will be at home against Rider on Oct. 17, at 5 p.m. at The Arthur E. Imperatore Natatorium.
John Fanta can be reached at email@example.com.